Turkey Raises Naval Presence

Reuters08.09.2011 Turkey
Turkey Raises Naval Presence

Turkey Raises Naval Presence

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Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was freezing defense industry trade with Israel and stepping up Turkish Naval Patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean, deepening Ankara’s feud with the Jewish state.

“The Eastern Mediterranean is not a strange place to us. Aksaz and Iskenderun, these places have the power and opportunity to provide escorts,” Erdogan said referring to 2 Turkish naval bases. “Of course our ships will be seen much more frequently in those waters.”

Last Friday, Turkey announced it was expelling Israel’s Ambassador and other Senior Diplomats, downgrading relations after the release of a UN report on the killing of 9 Turks during an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza last year.

Israel’s refusal to apologize for the deaths has angered Turkey, a NATO member with the alliance's second biggest military.

Erdogan’s government argues that Israel’s blockade of Gaza lacks legitimacy.

Erdogan also said Turkey was preparing more sanctions against Israel, and specifically said defense industry ties would be frozen.

“Trade ties, military ties, regarding defense industry ties, we are completely suspending them. This process will be followed by different measures,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan also said he may visit Gaza, which is ruled by the Hamas movement, during a planned visit to Egypt, but would decide after consulting the Egyptian government. Erdogan is planning to visit Cairo later this month.

He will also attend the UN General Assembly in New York later this month where he is likely to speak strongly in support of Palestinian efforts to win UN recognition for a state they aim to create in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

 

Source: Reuters

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